Super Parent or …Me?

I recently had a brush with a Super Parent.

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Between coordinating math competitions and drawing up homework schedules and suggesting vinyl cutouts of inspirational quotes to stick around the school, the Super Parent (SP) texted me to ask how my overachiever plans were coming along…?

I assured SP that all’s well, then accidentally sent my son to school in his younger brother’s pants.

While I could blame my lack of motivation and involvement on the number of children I’m keeping alive (five), I know I’ve had about the same level of parenting for all of them. They just get things like the wrong pants when I’m recovering from popping out their sibling.

Thing is, I have a different reaction than action compared to SPs.

Problem: Son needs a real volcano for his Science Fair Project? He needs it now? It’s due tomorrow? But it’s bedtime…

Solution: Meh; this will build character. Go to sleep and cobble something together in the morning.

I’ll teach the values of project management, ingenuity, and last-minute b.s.-ing. Frankly, that last one will help him more times than he’ll know.

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I’ll admit to some guilt when my laissez-faire approach comes out. What if not having five hours of piano lessons since he was five means he never goes to college? What if he catches pneumonia because I couldn’t leave my hour-away appointment to pick him up because he felt “sniffly?” What if that real volcano impressed little Julie Jenkins, super-intelligent and talented daughter of the SP that texted me, and she therefore agrees to go out with and marry my son when they’re twenty, and my adorable grandchildren (whose upbringing and education will be handled by their SP grandparent) never come to be??

That’s when I reassure myself that, if Julie Jenkins doesn’t love my son for who he is, she shouldn’t marry him. I mean, volcanoes can only take a relationship so far…

That, and I’d rather be a consistent and level-headed parent than a volatile and high-strung one. I’ve seen those go-getter types in school, and they were only happy when they had the good stuff. I don’t want that for my kids if we can avoid it; I want them to be balanced and truly happy.

So, SP, things are going well. My kids are alive, my son’s wearing pants, and my other son just pulled some paper into a mountain and painted it brown.

He says the vinegar and baking soda will be red.

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©2020 Chelsea Owens

Photo Credit: Valeria Zoncoll
Xavier Mouton Photographie
Aaron Thomas

Are You Going to Try for a Girl?

I have five boys. Since I live in Utah, the land of many children, I rarely get judgmental questions about that number. What I do get asked is:

Are you going to try for a girl?

The assumption, of course, is that I want a female offspring. I don’t. I’ve dreaded making a girl since my own Maturation Program in school. My feelings of absolute shock and betrayal are still present, besides the knowledge that I’d have to spring that information on my own daughter someday…

“That life you’ve lived up to now, with sunshine and rainbows and happiness? Well, dearest daughter, that’s all over in a few years! Once you hit your teens; you’ve got bleeding, pain, weight gain, and hormone fluctuations. -But don’t worry, when you don’t feel like cutting your own uterus out of your midsection, you’ll be able to put on a lot of weight for 9 months and pop out something that you’ll need to care for …for 20 years, at least…”

Yeah, I’ve got issues with being a mother. But if you didn’t know that already, you probably missed the name of the blog.

Back to the point: I’m terrified of birthing a girl. In that light, one could assume I’ve never been trying for one. I think it’s obvious that I haven’t, anyway, but can see how others assume that based on my constant impregnation.

Frankly, I’m not sure why I keep getting pregnant, either.

Either, or: no, I’m not “trying for a girl.” I’m trying for a baby. If that baby comes out with his (or her!) vital body parts then we’ve succeeded. If he (or she!) is also healthy and whole then we’ve done even better.

And if s/he is an excellent sleeper, we’ve hit the jackpot.

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©2020 Chelsea Owens

Photo Credit: Picsea

Did You Go Swimming Today? and Other Post-Delivery Fallacies

Hi, Mom.

“Hi, honey! Were you sleeping?”

No… (I was. I try to sound perkier.) What’s up?

“Oh! I’m at Wal-mart, and all their Christmas stuff’s 75% off!”

That’s great… but I’m not schlepping around yet.

“Oh… okay. I just thought you’d want to know.”

Okay. (I try to sound grateful and happy.) Thanks for telling me…

My mother’s a great person. I’m indebted to her for everything, beginning with the gift of life. However, I’ve noticed she’s not really aware of what I’m experiencing this time around the pregnancy and recovery loop. That exchange is just one example; though, to be fair, she called around 10 a.m. and not earlier. Odds are I was probably awake. She just happened to forget that I couldn’t go shopping yet since I’m STILL HEALING from a C-Section.

She’s not the only one, either.

A neighbor of mine asked if I was going to attend a Christmas choir concert about a week after I’d delivered. I responded:

No, Carol*. C-Section.

Just today, my husband took the other boys to a swimming pool with their grandparents. A friend texted, asking if I was going. As in, asking if I were swimming.

No, I can’t.

*Not supposed to?*

No, and don’t feel like it.

That’s the beauty of the C-Section recovery, I suppose: while I’m not allowed to do certain activities, I also don’t FEEL up to them. Heavy-lifting? Too tired and weak. Picking that diaper up off the ground? My sore stomach region says, “No bending.” Swimming at a pool? Can’t fit into a suit.

It’s not just me recovering, either.

“Hey, Mom!” (It’s my son that loves fun, just before going to the pool.) “D’ya want me to get the car seat?”

The baby’s not going to the pool.

“Why not? He has a suit.”

(I smile.) That won’t fit him quite yet. Also, he’s too little and would get too cold right now.

“Okay!”

Maybe by the time summer comes around, both the baby and I will be up for more. We’ll at least both fit into our swimsuits by then.

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*Name changed

Photo Credit: Lubomirkin

©2020 Chelsea Owens

I Had My Baby!

Just a little heads-up: I delivered my fifth baby boy on December 2, 2019 at 1344. He weighed 6 lbs, 4 oz and measured 19 inches long.

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He’s much smaller than he seems in the picture, but we’re a month along and doing fine.

The Merits of Yelling in the House

My husband hates yelling. Up until a few years ago, he would give me a look or chastise me whenever I chose TALKING LOUDLY from somewhere in the house over getting up and talking in person. I received a similar reaction when I’d get upset at the children (or him) and raise my voice.

Unfortunately for him, we moved to a two-story house six years ago. We did so when I was pregnant and exhausted. I therefore failed to see the benefit of climbing seventeen stairs to engage him face-to-face. I also left piles of socks, toys, and children at the top or bottom of said stairs to consolidate trips, so why not consolidate conversation as well?

I reverted back to calling to him from wherever I was (usually the couch), including times when I knew he could intervene much more quickly than I could in children’s fights (because getting off the couch is tricky).

But that baby grew up. He became six years older and I became 30 pounds lighter. I had few excuses to yell, even when the boys attempted fratricide. Coincidentally, talks and pointed looks from the husband increased when my volume also increased.

Fortunately for me, I’m now pregnant again and even more exhausted than before…

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Photo Credit: Stock Photography

©2019 Chelsea Owens